What are 301 and 302 redirects to SEO?
301 and 302 redirects are used in website optimization to make search engine friendly redirects.
Permanent 301 redirect is as the name suggests a permanent redirect of a URL to a new one.
The 301 redirect simply tells the search engines that the page should be removed from their index and replace with the new address.
So 301 redirects are a way to inform the search engines and human visitors of the new permanent address for a page.
Permanent 301 redirect examples
If you deleted a page (e.g. because you have stopped selling a particular products page) then you can do a 301 redirect to stop browsers throwing up a 404 error. Similarly if you move a page to another location you could use a 301 redirect to the new page location so that page rank is maintained and past visitors (who may have bookmarked the page) can find it.
One might use a 301 redirect if you are doing a page by page migration from an old website to a new one and you want to maintain SEO ranking. The importance 301 is that it passes page rank to the new site so that you do not lose SEO benefit.
WWW or no WWW
If you have links pointing to both www domain and non WWW domain then using a 301 redirect can help stop rank split and prop up affected pages.
A problem can occur when several defences refer to the same page creating duplicate content. For instance the home page can have www.site.com and www.site.com/index.html references.
This is one of the most common uses of a 301 redirect. Old Domains Making pretty links from ugly urls Many CMS produce urls with an ugly long string of numbers and letters that is not human or search engine friendly such as www.yoursite.com/prodref4656$%$66. Using a 301 redirect you can create pretty links that are memorable and better for search engine ranking such as www.yoursite/widgets
Temporary 302 Redirect
On the other hand 302 redirects are temporary redirects.
In 302 you are telling the search engines the page the URL refers to has temporarily changed to another location.
Temporary 302 redirect Examples
Special offers page
You could create a landing for special offer and send a 302 redirect from the offer products page to the special offers page so that visitors who land on the product page take advantage of the special offer. Once the special offer is over you can remove the 302.
Soup of The Day menu Page
You would use a 302 redirect if you want to temporarily redirect a page.
For example if you are an online restaurant you might use 302 to redirect “/todays-soup.html” to current day’s soup page depending on the day of the week e.g.
Impact on SEO is that you do not get any particular days soup be associated with the search for the restaurant’s menu listing.